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this church, which was found recently. Some account of S. Anthony was given in my last chapter. F. C. H.
Errata in Chapter VI. “ Rural Walks in Cornwall," September Number.
For “St. Telian," read “St. Teliau."
THE SALMON. THE SALMON may justly be termed, among fresh-water fish, the superior of the rivers, both as it is the largest in size, and the most excellent in its nature. It is a very handsome-made fish; the head is small, with a sharpish nose; the body is longish, and covered with fine bright thin scales; the colour on the back is bluish, on the other parts white, and it is very agreeably marked with irregular blackish or reddish-brown spots, even on the head, the covers of the gills, and all the way down on each side, from the lateral lines (which run from head to tail) to near the edge of the back, but very few are to be found on the belly sides of the lines; and the tail is forked. The female may be distinguished from the male by having a longer snout, and scales that are not quite so bright, with spots more of a darkish brown colour; the belly also is flatter; and the flesh is more dry, not so red, nor of so good a flavour.
THE SALMON'is certainly a fish of prey, having teeth in his mouth, as other fish of prey have, and delighting in pursuing and seizing small fish. It is very remarkable, however, that though a Salmon shall be taken in the very act of chasing and catching the small fry, yet, upon opening it, nothing of that nature will be found within it; nor has it ever been discovered, by opening these fish, what they do subsist on!
The salmon is a fish of passage, frequenting both the salt
and fresh water. Some begin to leave the sea at the latter end of December, others in January and February, and continue running up the rivers more or less till near their spawning time, which is chiefly in the months of September and October ; though some spawn before that time, and some after; for I have observed them to be big with roe in January in some countries, and in others in May. They begin to go out of season in July, which may be discovered by their scales appearing rougher and not so bright, and a little blackish about the head; in short, they can never be said to be in perfection when they begin to have roe; from which time they will gradually get worse and worse; and near their spawning time they will turn to a sort of dirty yellowish colour; their flesh will be soft, their beautiful spots vanish; and, after spawning, they will become black, disagreeable to look at, and appear not like fish of the same kind.
THE PORPUS, or sea hog is a great enemy to salmon, and will often chase them for a considerable distance up the rivers.
THE SALMON always breeds in rivers that have communications with the sea; but so high up as to have the water pure and free from any brackish tincture. They are very restless, and are always endeavouring to get near the spring head; to effect which, they will leap over weirs and other obstructions, to the astonishment of the beholders; and thus, in the course of their journey, they fix on convenient places for their purpose, which are generally upon flats, where the bottom is gravel and saud, and the stream moderate, and not over deep; they also prefer the tails and sides of swift streams. By the time they have accommodated themselves, nature supplies the males with an excrescence which grows out of the end of the lower jaw, ard is a bony gristle, somewhat resembling a large hawk's beak; it is very strong, and will grow to the length of about an inch and a half, or more. With this they go to work, and throw up the gravel and sand in beaps a foot or more high,
like mole-hills in a field, leaving hollow places between, wherein the females cast their eggs; and the males, performing their natural office, go to work again, and cover all substantially over, to prevent other fish from destroying them, and to nourish and bring them to perfection. This done, they immea diately run down the rivers to the sea, which restores them to their strength, and adds greatly to their growth aud goodness ; and here the male gradually looses the excrescence before described. But if any are stopped by floodgates, weirs, or otherwise confined to fresh water, they will become lean; waste away in their bodies; their heads will appear large, and of a different form from what they are when in health; and they will die by degrees, for want of the benefit of the salt water. The purging of the salt water, therefore, may as well be a reason why salmon grow so fast, as the want thereof the cause why they pine away and die so soon when confined to fresh water; for nature directs them to the salt water to purge and cleanse them, notonly from their impurities after spawning, but from all others acquired by their manner of feeding all the summer in fresh water. It likewise hardens their fat and flesh; and the fresh water, adding to their flavour, makes them more wholesome.
I HAVE often with delight seen these fish working their beds; observed them casting their spawn; and admired the curious nethod in which they cover the beds up again, particularly in the river Shannon in Ireland,
In this manner their spawn is left; and therein it is nouished and brought to perfection without any other care. There tre several kinds of fish that will destroy the spawn when the salmons have left their stations, by rooting it up wherever they ure able;; these are, particularly, the eel, roach, and dace.
The SALMON has different names in different countries, according to its age; those that are taken in the river Ribble, in Yorkshire, are in the first year called smelts, in the second year called sprods, in the third morts, in the fourth forktails, in the fifth half-fish, and in the sixth salmon, The small salmons, called morts and peals in most parts of England and Ireland, are named grilse in Scotland. · It is very remarkable, that such erroneous accounts should be given by many natural historians of the growth and weight of these fish. They in general state, that a salmon attains his full growth at the weight of forty pounds; whereas, both in Great Britain and Ireland, I have seen them from sixty to near seventy pounds weight, and have heard of larger. I have taken some by angling with an artificial fly and other baits weighing upwards of forty pounds.
ALL FISH, so long as they remain in health and escape misfortunes from the bite of fish of prey, (as well as other injuries to which they are frequently liable,) add something to their size and weight continually, breeding and growing; for all fish will begin to spawn when very young, and before they are half grown: hence we see small salmons with roe as well as large ones. Such is my humble opinion however; and after having made it my study for upwards of forty years, I have the confidence to believe, that my knowledge of the nature of freshwater fish is equal with the land sportsman's knowledge of the nature of hares, pheasants, partridges, and other game; with which I am also not unacquainted. · THERE ARE in Ireland two beautiful falls of water (nearly perpendicular) which are called Salmon Leaps; one at Ballough-Shannon; the other at Lexlip, about eight or nine miles from Dublin. The salmon, when running from the sea, leap up these cascades; and it is hardly credible by those who have not witnessed it, that these fish should be able to dart themselves full twelve feet perpendicular out of the water; nay, allowing for the curvature, they must sometimes leap sixteen or eighteen feet. They do not, however, always succeed at the first leap; for sometimes when they have almost reached the summit, the falling water dashes them down again ; at others,
they fall head foremost or sidelong upon the rocks, where they remain stunned for a few moments, and then struggle into the water again. When they are so lucky as to reach the top, they swim out of sight in a moment. They do not appear to spring from the surface of the water, nor can it be ascertained from what depth they take their leap. It seems, however, to be performed by a forcible spring with their tails bent to their mouths; for their principal strength is in their tails. They have sometimes been shot at others caught with strong barbed hooks fixed to a pole, at others again, by a kind of basket fastened to a long pole, and instances have been known of women catching them in their aprons during their leap. Sometimes one may see forty or perhaps more of these leaps in an hour. There is a cataract of this kind on the river Tivy in Pembrokeshire, and another on the river Wear, not far from Durham, which is accounted very high ; but that which I have spoken of in Ireland is much higher. I have often been surprised, while angling near mills, and other obstructions that sometimes prevent the salmon's free course up the rivers, to see a salmon leap with violence against a mill-wheel when going round, a rock, or a wall, and rebound with such force as to fall at my feet. Indeed, sometimes they are cut asunder by mill-wheels at work.
It must be remarked, that salmon is much more plentiful in the rivers of Scotland and Ireland than in those of England; and that it is very cautious of venturing too far into the salt water, through dread of being devoured by the porpus or other fish of prey; they therefore keep about the bays near the entrance of the rivers into the sea; and upon their return from thence always enter the same rivers in which they had been spawned : which naturally accounts for some of them being better than others, according to the different quality and purity of the water in the rivers to which they resort.